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Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Page: 11907


Mr COLEMAN (BanksMinister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) (18:15): I thank those members who have contributed to this important debate. The government is committed to strengthening the enforcement regime available to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, making sure that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has the powers it needs to take strong enforcement action to protect consumers from corporate and financial misconduct and rebuilding the trust the community has in the financial services industry. The bill overhauls Australia's penalties for white-collar crime and brings them closer to those in other leading international jurisdictions. Introducing a stronger penalty framework will ensure consumers are protected from corporate and financial sector misconduct. Under this legislation the imprisonment penalties for some of the most serious criminal offences in the Corporations Act will be substantially increased, fourfold in some cases. Further, the bill expands the range of contraventions subject to civil penalties and increases the maximum civil penalty amounts that can be imposed by courts. Under these reforms the maximum civil penalty for individuals will increase from $200,000 to the greater of $1.05 million or three times the benefit gained. For corporations the maximum penalty will increase from $1 million to the greater of $10.5 million, three times the benefit gained or 10 per cent of annual turnover, capped at $210 million. This represents a more-than-fivefold increase for individual penalties and more-than-tenfold increase for corporation penalties. This bill also includes important reforms that put consumers first. In addition to the stronger penalty framework, the Corporations Act will be amended to ensure courts prioritise compensating victims over collecting penalties from offenders. Finally, this bill gives the courts the power to seek additional remedies to strip wrongdoers of profits illegally obtained or losses avoided from contraventions resulting in civil penalty proceedings.

I commend this bill to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hastie ): The original question was that this bill be read a second time. To this the honourable member for Hotham has moved as an amendment that all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The immediate question is that the amendment be agreed to.

Question negatived.

Original question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.